The Paw Print

Carey Spear ready to start new chapter with Browns

Carey+Spear+%2839%29+kicks+a+field+goal+against+South+Carolina+on+August+30%2C+2012.++Spear+made+two+field+goals+and+an+extra+point+in+a+17-13+loss.++%28Gerry+Melendez%2FThe+State%2FMCT%29
Carey Spear (39) kicks a field goal against South Carolina on August 30, 2012.  Spear made two field goals and an extra point in a 17-13 loss.  (Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT)

Carey Spear (39) kicks a field goal against South Carolina on August 30, 2012. Spear made two field goals and an extra point in a 17-13 loss. (Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT)

MCT

MCT

Carey Spear (39) kicks a field goal against South Carolina on August 30, 2012. Spear made two field goals and an extra point in a 17-13 loss. (Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT)

Jared Serre, Staff writer

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Former Mayfield athlete Carey Spear, known outside of Northeast Ohio more for his YouTube highlights than his kicking ability, is bringing a sense of elation back to the Mayfield area.

The kicker, deemed “Murderleg” at Vanderbilt University for his violent tackles on kickoff returns, agreed to sign a futures contract with the hometown Cleveland Browns in December, potentially solving their kicking problem. He has since been placed onto the active roster and he will go to battle against the former Washington Huskie Travis Coons and the incumbent, Garrett Hartley, this summer.

“I am really grateful for the opportunity to come back home and play for Cleveland,” Spear said. “Just like everyone from Cleveland, I have been a major Browns, Tribe and Cavs fan my entire life. But now, being in the position to compete for a job with the team, I look at it a little differently.”

In his three years at Vanderbilt, Spear tallied 209 total points and failed to convert only one extra point kick in 93 tries for the Commodores. Since the year 2000, he is currently ranked number seven on the Southeastern Conference’s career leaders of field goal percentage, converting 78 percent of his field goals. That is ahead of current NFL kickers Blair Walsh and Cody Parkey, to name a few.

Making splashes on the field isn’t all Spear has done in his college career. Praised for his work ethic, Spear made the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll from 2011 to 2013, and was a Wuerffel Award finalist in 2013. That same year, he was named to the Allstate-AFCA Good Works team, being recognized for the difference he made in his community as a student athlete.

Before his time in Nashville, Spear made history by tying the state record for the longest converted field goal during his senior season.

“I mean, I almost knew he was going to make the field goal,” head football coach Larry Pinto said. “He’s been wanting to kick big kicks, that’s the type of player he is. I had a great feeling he was going to make the kick.”

He kicked the ball through the uprights at that moment, as well as many times throughout the season. He also kicked 45 touchbacks in 65 kickoff attempts that season.

Spear has already beaten the odds due to how close he has gotten to achieving his goal, but it will be even harder to crack an NFL roster considering that there are more than 200 kickers nationwide competing for 32 kicking jobs available in the NFL.

When asked about his thoughts on the chance he has of making an NFL roster with such slim odds, Spear said, “I believe that preparation breeds confidence which ultimately helps an athlete successfully compete. All I am focused on is training each day and doing the little things to put myself in the best position for tomorrow.”

In spite of the difficulty of reaching his primary objective, Spear is devoted to becoming an NFL kicker.

“I’m very dedicated.” he said.

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Carey Spear ready to start new chapter with Browns